TULSA, Okla. - A five-run seventh inning helped the Oral Roberts University baseball team to a 7-4 victory in a Southland Conference series opener against Sam Houston State on Friday evening at J.L. Johnson Stadium.
The win brought the ORU overall season record to .500 at 14-14 and improved the Golden Eagles' conference record to 4-6. The Bearkats dropped into a tie with ORU in the conference standings with a 4-6 record and fell to 19-11 overall.
Matt Brandy had two hits, including a double, and two runs batted in, and Audie Afenir added a pair of RBI singles in the contest. Austen Colt had a double and scored on a two-RBI single by Jose Trevino in the five-run seventh inning.
Freshman hurler Kyler Stout (1-0) earned his first career victory in relief as he went 2.2 innings, allowing just one hit and one run. Fellow freshman Hayden Holley (1) entered in the top of the eighth for his first career save.
Kurt Giller started the game on the bump for the Golden Eagles and allowed three runs on five hits in five innings of work.
The Golden Eagle offense knocked around Bearkat starter Tyler Eppler (4-4), who took the loss, as they tagged him for five runs in 6.2 innings. Dylan Ebbs had a two-RBI ground rule double for the Bearkats, while Anthony Azar and Carter Burgess each reached twice with hits.
ORU got on the board in the bottom of the second as Brandy led off the inning with a single and scored on a single through the left side by Anthony Sequeira. Two batters later, Afenir earned his first RBI single of the game, driving in Tyler Boss to give the Golden Eagles a 2-0 lead.
However, Ebbs answered for the Bearkats in the top of the third with a shot to the warning track in straight-away center that bounced over the wall for a ground rule double, driving in Shea Pierce and Carter Burgess, tying the game at two.
In the top half of the fifth, SHSU took a 3-2 lead after a passed ball set up a sacrifice fly by Corey Toups that plated Burgess from third.
The Bearkats threatened in the top of the sixth to expand their lead, loading the bases with just one out, but Stout pitched out of the jam by striking out Burgess and getting Ebbs to fly out to end the inning.
In the seventh, the Golden Eagles regained the lead and broke the game open. Afenir drove in the tying run with a single back up the middle. Following Colt's double to put a pair of runners in scoring position for the Golden Eagles, Trevino delivered a two-out, two-run single to give ORU a 5-3 lead.
Two batters later, with runners on corners, Brandy hit a shot of the base of the wall in center to bring home Trevino and Logan Domenico to extend the ORU lead to 7-3.
The Bearkats loaded the bases in the top of the eighth and Azar scored on a wild pitch to make it a 7-4 contest, but Holley was able to get ORU out of the inning with a fly ball to right field.
ORU will look to clinch the series in game two on Saturday at 2 p.m. at J.L. Johnson Stadium.
|Box Score vs. SHSU, 4-4-14|